Updated: October 9, 2013 11:13PM
RIO DE JANEIRO — How excited was center Joakim Noah about the trip to Brazil?
He wore his bathing suit under his pants on the airplane, and as soon as the team bus arrived at the hotel, he was running for the beach.
Now, if only the Bulls can get Noah up and running in preseason games.
A strained groin has kept Noah out of the first two exhibition victories, and while he continued to take strides in practice Wednesday, Noah was still iffy for the game Saturday against the Wizards.
“He’s really moving well,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that he’ll play because we didn’t have contact [Wednesday], so I want to make sure he’s getting through practice with contact and he’s comfortable. I don’t want to push it right now. After the next two days of practice, we’ll see where he is. He’s close. It could be the next game or the game after that.’’
Noah’s hope was sooner than later.
“I feel better, still not 100 percent, but I will hopefully be 100 percent before I get out there,’’ Noah said. “I’m hoping I feel better by Friday.’’
Point guard Derrick Rose was admittedly running on fumes after getting little sleep on the 12-hour flight from Chicago, but he went through a full practice and was once again the center of attention with the international media.
“It’s just a blessing to be able to come over and play basketball and be the first team to come over here and play an NBA game,’’ Rose said.
The Bulls will have all their practices at the Flamengo Club, and even though the gym is far from state-of-the-art, Thibodeau loved it.
“To be honest, it’s a great facility,’’ Thibodeau said. “The floor is great, and it just has that old-school feel.’’